Saturday, Nov 1, 2014Saturday, Nov 1, 2014
World
 

How flies avoid the swat: they act like fighter jets

Published on Apr 11, 2014 6:48 AM
 
Time lapse images from a high speed video show how a fruit fly startled by a looming shadow (off camera at the bottom right) performs a rapid roll to bank away from the threat, in this undated picture courtesy of F. Muijres at the University of Washington in Seattle. When scared, fruit flies bank the same way fighter jets do, tilting and rolling through the air, but they do it quicker than the blink of an eye, US researchers said on Thursday, April 11, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - When scared, fruit flies bank the same way fighter jets do, tilting and rolling through the air, but they do it quicker than the blink of an eye, US researchers said on Thursday.

The findings in the journal Science suggest that flies may be relying on a special set of senses to help them avoid getting swatted.

Researchers used three high-speed cameras to analyse how fruit flies avoided an impending collision.

While they normally beat their wings 200 times a second, if threatened they could reorient themselves in a single wing beat, and then speed away.

 
If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here

Videos